Take an optional stroll around Kiso-Fukushima following an early breakfast. Afterwards catch the local train to Yabuhara, the starting point of the nature and ancient trail between Yabuhara-juku and Narai-juku which used to be the most dangerous path in Nakasendo.
Facing Yabuhara Station follow the paved road on the right continuing onwards until reaching a small park. Walk on the path that goes through the park and onto the other side of the railway. Continue walking northward until reaching a two-way street; turn left on the small paved road between some tombstones on the left and rice fields on the right.
Upon reaching the end of the narrow street follow the ascending slope on the right and make a soft turn along some stone monuments. Continue walking forward for about 5 minutes and then turn right on the small parking area of a local inn and through a narrow alley. At the end of the street is a short tunnel that leads to a wider paved road. Have the option to trace back and walk up the slope on the right to visit Yabuhara Shrine and Gokuraku-ji Temple.
Walk back and follow the paved road making right turns in all upward slopes until reaching a small forest of cedar trees (right side; there is a restroom behind the trees). Cross the road and walk up the slope that leads to the forested mountain (English signage at the corner of the street). From the entrance all the way to Otake Shrine and its torii gate, the trail is constantly uphill reaching an elevation of 160 m.
The trail from this point to Narai is mainly downhill. There is some signage along the way (note: the trail that leads up to an observation deck is a dead end and no views). From the foot of the mountain emerge into a wide paved road that leads to the post town of Narai-juku. Along the way pass by Joryu-ji Temple which used to be the praying grounds for ancient hikers who asked for protection and health before climbing the mountains.
From Narai Station catch the local train to Matsumoto, a small town known for its castle and surrounding rice fields, vineyards and wasabi farms.